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UFCW: Instacart Automation Threatens 500,000 Jobs as Grocery Industry Continues Pushing Tech Eliminating Essential Workers Protecting Food Access as COVID Continues

June 1, 2021

Instacart

America’s Largest Grocery Workers Union, Which Represented First Instacart Workers to Unionize, Condemns Automation Push Sweeping Across Grocery Industry Putting Millions of Jobs at Risk 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, which represents 1.3 million essential workers, in groceryretailmeatpacking, and many other frontline industries, condemned Instacart’s new automation planthat threatens the jobs of the company’s 500,000 grocery delivery workers across the country.

Instacart workers unionized with UFCW in February 2020, but Instacart fired all its unionized workers as part of a January 2021 national layoff of 2,000 workers. Instacart’s automation push is the latest in a growing trend, including Amazon’s recent cashierless grocery store expansion

UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“Instacart grocery delivery workers have been bravely serving on the frontlines since the pandemic began, putting their own health at risk to ensure Americans have the food they need during this crisis. After our country called them ‘essential workers,’ it is outrageous that Instacart is now pushing job-killing automation that would wipe out the jobs of these hard-working men and women who have been a crucial lifeline providing food access to some of the most vulnerable Americans.

“Instacart’s plan to fire its nearly 500,000 grocery delivery workers would devastate families across the country who depend on this income. With the aggressive expansion of Amazon’s cashierless grocery stores and similar automation moves at other companies, it is clear that CEOs across the industry are racing to squeeze more profits by wiping out grocery jobs that are vital to local economies nationwide. At a time when millions of Americans are still struggling, when most Americans are one paycheck away from disaster, what does it say that companies like Instacart want to eliminate the jobs real people need?

“As the union that proudly represented the first unionized Instacart grocery workers ever at the company, UFCW is calling on CEO Apoorva Mehta to immediately stop this dangerous job-killing automation initiative. Handing out pink slips is no way to thank the brave men and women who have been keeping our food supply secure throughout this health crisis.”

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UFCW International is the largest private sector union in the United States. UFCW International represents 1.3 million professionals and their families in healthcare, grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members serve our communities in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at ufcw.org